3Com Corporation have announced that it has formed strategic alliances with leading gateway vendors to create effortless, plug-and-play solutions for Wi-Fi-certified wireless hotspots worldwide. The strategic alliance vendors' wireless products have passed interoperability testing with 3Com's wireless products to ensure smooth operation of complete hotspot systems.  The list of alliance vendors include: Aptilo Networks, IP3 Networks, Nomadix, PatronSoft, Pronto Networks and SolutionInc Limited. The prospect of new wireless hotspots, ideally suited for hotels, airport terminals, train stations, cafes and community centers, will also create new opportunities for system integrators within 3Com's channel partner program.

Through these new wireless alliances, 3Com will be able to provide a wider range of hotspot solutions.  Whether a customer is seeking simple authentication for a wireless hotspot or enhanced roaming capabilities between different technologies, such as Wi-Fi and GPRS/UMTS networks, 3Com and the new strategic alliance vendors can provide tested and proven solutions.  The new 3Com wireless hotspot program involves these new wireless strategic vendors who will combine their billing and authentication gateways and software with 3Com's wireless access points, Power over Ethernet technology and security devices to build new public wireless LANs (local area networks), better known as "hotspots." 

"Two of the most important things that hotels, airports, cafes, train stations and shared community venues should consider before choosing and installing a wireless hotspot are interoperability and reliability of all the parts of the solutions," said Aaron Vance, senior analyst, Synergy Research Group.  "Once interoperability and reliability have been verified across partners, the system integration required usually goes much smoother.  Wireless hotspots don't need to be overcomplicated and, because of the emergence of new efficient integration, businesses can get new revenue streams and enhance customer experiences, whether with a cup of coffee, waiting for a flight, or checking an online reservation at a hotspot."

Angelo Lamme, product manager for 3Com, "We recently added features and functionality in our enterprise access points to streamline wireless access for hotspot deployments.  For example, the 3Com Wireless Access Point 7250 has a lockable feature to prevent theft, supports Power over Ethernet and allows connectivity for various detachable antennas for flexible coverage and drop ceilings.  We added specific hotspot features, such as support for multiple VLANs (up to 32 per radio), multiple SSIDs (up to 32 per radio module), and SSID to VLANmapping in our latest firmware release.  These features allow customers to support multiple virtual WLANs on a single access point - ideal for hotspot deployments."

Not only are they for enterprise applications or small-and-medium-sized business networks, but 3Com wireless solutions are also being used around the world for various hotspot deployments. For example, last year 3Com wireless access points were used at Wimbledon, the famous tennis tournament, and at the Edinburgh Festival in the UK to provide connectivity.  Today, many hotels and other venues worldwide rely on 3Com's wireless technologies.

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